Rare Oarfish : New Zealand sea monster was reportedly washed ashore in Aramoana

Rare Oarfish : New Zealand sea monster was reportedly washed ashore in Aramoana

Rare Oarfish In New Zealand Found, a bizarre, self-amputating, vertical swimming, serpent-like marine specimen has washed up on the salt marsh at Aramoana in Dunedin.

The 3 metre-long oarfish was found dead by Aramoana resident Don Gibbs yesterday morning, who then contacted the Department of Conservation.

It was one of the most unusual fish the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) David Agnew had ever seen.

He was nearby when the fish was reported washed up.

It would have weighed between 30 and 50kg and was in good condition and fresh.

However, its tail was missing which is not unusual because they are known to “self-amputate” by biting off their own tails – a practice which has stumped marine experts.

The University of Otago’s New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and Aquarium says oarfish can reach lengths of up to 8m.

“Described as long-distance ocean drifters, they are usually found hanging in a vertical position in the upper 300m of the water column,” it posted on its Facebook page.

“Specimens larger than 1.5m are known to shorten their length by biting off their tail. Healthy oarfish are known to wash up on beaches and are sometimes found near the water surface.”

DOC believes it could be more than 40 years since any similar specimen had washed ashore in Dunedin.

Otago Museum staff visited the mudflats at Aramoana last night to collect tissue samples for research which will be preserved and sent to DOC marine scientist Clinton Duffy who normally specialises in sharks.

The museum says it did not remove the fish because of the high costs of preserving the skeleton and already has a number of old oarfish skeletons in its collection.